The first CD I ever bought with my OWN money (hilarious to think what a big deal that was growing up) was a Reel Big Fish album titled Turn the Radio Off. I have distinct memories of hearing these ska tuneskies and experiencing this uncontrollable desire to mosh with sweaty strangers. As I was about 10 years old at the time, I can’t say I followed up on that urge, but I always had this dream alterna-life where I was a Cali beach babe, maybe a hybrid of Hawaii hottie Kate Bosworth a la Blue Crush and Gwen Stefani. Other than a brief stint in during Halloween 2011, I can’t say I really embody this imaginary persona. But there’s a new spot in Philly that might let me live that dream, if only through my eats.
Wahoo’s Tacos, California’s premier fish taco joint, has somehow found their way to Philadelphia (specifically 3180 Chestnut Street). Recent graduate of UPenn and current employee in University City, I’ll let you know that few things excite me more than a new lunchtime opportunity nearby. And when I had the chance to check out UC’s newest West Coast transplant last weekend, I had no choice but to joyfully attend and snap photos when I wasn’t stuffing my face.
The story is nothing new. Just your standard Bro meets bro, one of those bros meets taco guru at snowboarding events, taco spot inspires bro, bro brings delicious taco spot (and guru) to City of Brotherly Love. We’ve all heard it, so I won’t bore you. But let’s get to the good stuff. The vibe is super Cali cool, skater and surfer and all that jazz.
The menu is simple and all about freshness. I learned that they literally only keep one small freezer in the back (for fries and onion rings). The rest of the stuff is straight up never frozen. Proteins, vegetables, slaw… All about that.
How is the food, you may ask? Well, luckily, I was able to try a bunch! (Though feel free to scan the menu yourself.)
Can we just get on a new level about that spicy fish and that crunchy slaw? I really feel like slaw is what’s MISSING in my taco/burrito/bowl life.
With a full bar, some tasty brews on draft, and totally reasonable prices, I am certain this location is going to rock. But what really blew me away was the love that these two Philly owners, Bill Van Gilder and Jeff Mattes, seem to have for their franchise.
Listening to them speak about their new business is like hearing someone talk about their child. I can say that, having met one of Bill’s little ones….
So come for the tacos…. stay for the atmosphere, the incredibly flavorful slaw, the taquitos, and maybe you’ll get lucky and stumble across the absolute cutest little Wahoo Mascot.
It’s a new addition to the Philly food scene that I will welcome with open arms. And an open mouth, waiting for spicy fish.